The Sons of Scotland, formed in 1896 by D.L. McLean, is Canada's oldest civilian pipe band. James Anderson led the band in the early 1900s. The band played in Ottawa for the first time in 1896 in celebration of the death of Robert Burns. It was in fact the first pipe band to be heard in the nation's capital. Unfortunately, little is known about the band's early activities.
Jumping ahead, Pipe Major Alan Quinn breathed new life into the Sons of Scotland by forming a successful junior band in 1969. Under PM Quinn, the kids won best intermediate pipe band at the 1972 Landsdowne Park Highland Games in Ottawa and competed at the World Championships in Scotland in the early '70s.
Ken McDonald took over from Alan Quinn as Pipe Major in 1976. Under PM McDonald, the band took second and fifth place in Grade 4 competitions in Cobourg, Cambridge, and at the Canadian National Exhibition.
Alan Quinn was again Pipe Major in 1980 when he formed a senior teaching band.
John Hodgins, a long-time band member, manager and supporter, booked an incredible 33 gigs for the Sons in a single year (1985). Quinn and Hodgins started the tradition of having the band play at the Sons of Scotland Camp Argyle #26's glamorous, annual Burns Banquet, which attracts several hundred people yearly.
Liz McLeod took over as Pipe Major in 1990 and led the band until 1995, when Gord McNaule took over. Pipe Major McNaule appointed Fred Kuzniarz Lead Drummer. Both Gord and Fred were dedicated to raising the standard of the band, a trend that has continued through to today.
In 1997, PM McNaule led the band into competition for the fist time in many years. By 1999, the Sons had won two firsts and a third in parade competitions in New York and entered the PPBSO Highland games circuit, facing very stiff competition.
In September 2000, Bethany Bisaillion joined on as Pipe Major. A dedicated teacher, PM Bisaillion has brought many new players to the band and has established a strong, organized learning environment for band practices.
In 2003 and 2004 the band added a trip to Scotland to their schedule. They traveled with dancers, parents and guests and played to appreciative audiences at spectacular venues such as Stirling and Edinburgh Castles. The band also performed on behalf of the Caledonia Brewery of Edinburgh and looks forward to their continued support. Both trips were made complete by great results at the World Pipe Band Championships at Glasgow Green.
The band is proud to support many area charities and community events - ALS Canada, the Sons of Scotland Benevolent Association, the Alzheimers Sociatey of Canada, the Fallen Firefighters Memorial and the City of Ottawa are a few examples. The band also competes at highland games throughout the summer in Grades IV and V. The Sons do their own fundraising to purchase uniforms and instruments and offset travel costs.
The band now has numerous officers and teachers, and strives to present excellent music to its audiences, The Sons provide free training in piping and drumming to all of its members, and encourages all players to participate in parades, shows and concerts.